NSM, United Seating swap branches

Sunday, June 24, 2007

NASHVILLE, Tenn., and EARTH CITY, Mo. - In a one-of-a-kind transaction, National Seating & Mobility and United Seating & Mobility, two large regional rehab providers, will trade two locations to boost their respective market shares.

NSM will trade its Kansas City, Mo., and Columbus, Ohio, branches for United Seating's Orlando, Fla., and Dallas branches, the providers announced last week.

Because its Kansas City and Columbus branches do mostly Medicare business, the transaction allows NSM to focus on its core payers: Medicaid and managed care.

For United Seating, the transaction allows the provider to reduce its exposure to national competitive bidding. Trading its Orlando and Dallas branches means the provider will have a presence in two competitive bidding areas (CBAs) instead of four. A bigger presence in Kansas City and Columbus also better positions United Seating to compete in those two CBAs (Columbus is part of the Cleveland CBA).

Additionally, due to the transactions, NSM and United Seating will no longer have to compete with each other in those markets.

"We're excited," said Bob Guoy, president of United Seating. "We believe that, while the transaction's just a simple realignment of revenues, it's a smart move for both companies."

NSM and United Seating didn't enter the transaction lightly, company officials said.

"If you would have asked me a year or two ago if I would do something like this, I would have said never," said Mike Ballard, president and CEO of NSM. "We had to be very careful in how we executed the transaction because you can't build and maintain a company if your key clinical people feel they're commodities traded like baseball players. We made sure we had buy-in from all the people involved."

NSM has a growing presence in Orlando. In addition to taking over NSM's branch office there, it's getting ready to open another office in Orlando, Ballard said.

United Seating recently acquired a rehab company in Atlanta, and it plans to acquire other rehab companies in existing markets, Guoy said.